One would think that the term used to refer to the depth of a river or stream would be just that, depth. For some reason however the term gage (a variant of the word gauge) had been used by the U.S. Geological Survey since 1889, if not well before. There are a number of ways to measure stream gage and I’m sure many of us have seen the huge ruler that oftentimes runs up a bridge support. This tool is used to measure stream height, or gage, and is correctly called a Gage Staff. I tell you this because, after twelve hours in the car on Saturday, we felt the urgent need of a walk yesterday afternoon. Our peregrinations took us along the creek and under one of the steel truss bridges which span it. The ten foot measure on the gage staff shown below was old but recently repainted onto the component stones of one of the supporting piers. The complete gage staff measured seven to twenty feed. Although stream gage can’t tell us how rapidly water may be flowing, it can give some indication of the volume of water which is contained by the stream. Because stream contours are flattish at the bottom and slope to each bank, the volume of water held by the stream will increase as the gage increases. If you think about gage and contour together you will know that a stream at gage level 4 will hold more than twice the volume of water than a stream at gage level 2, for example. In any case I thought this old gage staff, stained with rust from the decking above, made for a nice post.

7 thoughts on “Gage

  1. I am not familiar with a “gage staff” and will now be looking for it on bridges. This being new to me, I am curious and interested to learn more. Also, the photo is striking and unexpected -I never would have associated it with a stream, a bridge, a wild setting at all. I thought it was some sort of graffiti you might have taken in in your travels. Just fascinating, thank you for sharing!

    • Tammy .. you deserve an award. Each time I see your piggy-Gravatar I think to myself, ‘Wow, she’s done it again .. how does she find the time given her busy schedule and crazy-hectic-life?’ Each one of your comments is anticipated and appreciated. Consider yourself the recipient of the ‘most dedicated blog follower award.’ With gratitude … D

  2. You discovered a hidden gem with interesting colors and pattern. You are quite creative in selecting, framing, and presenting your subjects. In this picture you have brought your fans a lovely piece of modern art, and as such, it is very successful. You have a good eye for design. Nice shot.

    • Thanks once again. This was a fortuitous find on a day which, otherwise, did not offer up much photogenic. I am already contemplating my next lens purchase. Very wide angle this time. D

    • Hey Chris … coming from an artist that comment means lots. Really. And, thanks for taking the time do put words to keyboard. I know it’s lots easier to look at a cool picture and think to yourself … ‘cool,’ and to click on by. Taking the time to comment on what you thought was cool is … itself … cool. Thanks again. I just took a look at your blog and will have to stop by again to take it all in. Funny that I just heard a story about fellow performance artist Chris Burden on the radio just the other day. Dave

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